By Dina Petrakis
Check your grout (and caulk seams) after winter every year. If it looks bad, the whole room will, too- sooner rather than later. More importantly, faults in the grout cause serious water damage, and dreaded mold can gain a foothold. Pay particular attention to the following:
Exterior walls, since heat and cold can cause movement and gaps
Where vertical and horizontal surfaces, or two vertical planes meet
The base of your whirlpool, where it rests on the tile
Clean and check around the clothes dryer for unusual lint gathering. This is a sign of potential fire hazard.
Change the batteries on smoke and CO detectors if they aren’t hard-wired.
Call to get your air conditioner serviced now, before the cooling season. You’ll get better service and may be able to get a lower price. The same holds true for other seasonally related work, such as landscaping and exterior construction. Don’t forget to get a full season’s supply of filters.
Lubricate your garage door tracks and mechanism. Most problems are a result of not lubricating.
Clean your gutters- scrape winter debris out and run a hose down the downspouts to wash them out.
Check the roof- (with binoculars if possible) how is it holding up? Look for signs of deterioration, like curling or missing shingles, grit washing off shingles in a rainstorm, or interior leaks. On a flat roof, raised “bubbles” or any open areas. Sheet metal and flashings at chimneys, etc- are they still well caulked?
Exterior vents- is there any damage to the seal? Is the opening covered to prevent rodent intrusion?
Check wood trim on the house- is any paint peeling, chalking, bubbling, or discolored? What about splitting or rotting wood? Is the caulk holding around the perimeter of the windows, doors, and at intersections of planes?
Are the covers on area drains still in place and free of debris?
Finally, walk through the basement. Any new drainage problems, or anything look different?
Drain a gallon of water from the water heater, to extend its life.
If some work needs to be done, plan to start on it early. Weather can be uncooperative when you wait till fall. It also is a good strategy to get bids before the season hits- so pricing is more favorable.